THIS JUST IN ( Top )
(1) CAN POT EXTEND TED KENNEDY'S LIFE? TOO BAD IT'S ILLEGAL
Pubdate: Fri, 23 May 2008
Source: AlterNet (US Web)
Copyright: 2008 Independent Media Institute
Author: Paul Armentano
In the 14 years I've worked in marijuana law reform, few events have struck me as so needlessly tragic as the federal government's consistent and deliberate stifling of medical cannabis research. Nowhere is the Fed's refusal to allow this science more overt and inhumane than as it pertains to the investigation of cannabinoids as anti-cancer agents, particularly in the treatment of gliomas.
As noted in today's wire stories regarding Sen. Edward Kennedy's diagnosis, glioma is an aggressive form of cancer that affects an estimated 10,000 Americans annually. Standard treatments for the cancer include radiation and chemotherapy, though neither procedure has proven particularly effective -- the disease kills approximately half its victims within one year and all within three years.
But what if there was an alternative treatment for gliomas that could selectively target the cancer while leaving healthy cells intact? And what if federal bureaucrats were aware of this treatment, but deliberately withheld this information from the public?
Sadly, the above questions are not hypothetical. As I originally wrote in a 2004 essay for Alternet.org, titled Pot Shows Promise as a Cancer Cure":
In fact, the first experiment documenting pot's anti-tumor effects took place in 1974 at the Medical College of Virginia at the behest of the U.S. government. The results of that study, reported in an Aug. 18, 1974, Washington Post newspaper feature, were that marijuana's psychoactive component, THC, "slowed the growth of lung cancers, breast cancers and a virus-induced leukemia in laboratory mice, and prolonged their lives by as much as 36 percent."
(2) POT ADVOCATES CONTRIBUTE TO MENDOCINO COUNTY CAMPAIGN ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 23 May 2008
Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)
Copyright: 2008 The Press Democrat
Author: Mike Geniella
UKIAH - A surge in cash contributions from Bay Area marijuana advocates has narrowed the money gap in a hard-fought campaign over Mendocino County's liberalized pot guidelines.
Repeal proponents under the banner of "Yes on Measure B" had a nearly 5-1 spending edge in the early weeks of a campaign aimed at ending the county's national reputation as a haven for marijuana growers.
But a total of $26,900 in new contributions, including an $11,413 personal loan from the director of the San Francisco office of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (known as NORML), has closed the gap for opponents of Measure B.
"We're struggling to keep up, but we're finding growing support in the final days," said Laura Hamburg, organizer of the "No on Measure B" campaign.
So far the No campaign has raised about $33,000, compared with a total of about $40,000 raised by the Yes group, according to financial documents filed Thursday by both campaigns.
Yes chairman Ross Liberty, a Ukiah businessman, said he personally has made $10,000 in cash and "in-kind" contributions in efforts to replace the county's current guidelines with a more restrictive state standard.
(3) POLICE APOLOGIZE FOR STORMING HOUSE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 23 May 2008
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Times Colonist
Author: Tom McMillan
Innocent Saanich Family Still Feeling Effects Of Emergency Response Team Raid
Patty Cushing can still see the gun pointed at her face.
On May 16, police raided what they suspected was a base for manufacturing crystal meth and other illegal drugs.
Cushing lay on the bathroom floor of her Regina Avenue home as they searched, tears pouring off her face, urine trickling down her leg.
"I kept saying, 'There's no drugs here,'" she remembers. "They wouldn't believe me."
Yesterday, Saanich police publicly apologized for the raid, which turned up nothing. The Cushings call the apology "a good first step" in an ordeal that's left them shaken and searching for answers.
"The people I assumed would protect me, traumatized me," Cushing said. "Tomorrow will be Day 7 and it's not near over."
(4) COLUMN: DRUG POLICY CHASES WEEDS, MISSES NEEDS ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 23 May 2008
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 2008 Journal Sentinel Inc.
Author: Jim Stingl
I remember exactly where I was when I heard the space shuttle Challenger had exploded.
Notebook in hand, I was watching the police toss bales of seized marijuana into a power plant furnace in Green Bay where I was a reporter at the time. It was quite the media event.
The aroma was pungent and the message was clear: Watch out druggies. This is war.
That was 22 years ago, and I have little doubt that dope smoking in Titletown and everywhere else goes along as usual. It was all for show.
Same with the big pot bust this week in Oak Creek, Franklin and Sturtevant. Five people were arrested, and more than 2,000 plants were discovered in four homes that had been turned into the horticultural equivalent of the Mitchell Park Domes.
Someday the police will seize marijuana plants without feeling the need to stage a show-and-tell where TV cameras can linger over the lush greenery. I understand why they always call in the media. It was, in the words of one police official, a once-in-a-career bust.
But do you feel safer now? Is the problem of drug abuse in America any closer to being solved? Is this sweep anything but the tiniest dent in the availability of marijuana for people who want it?
WEEKLY NEWS IN REVIEW ( Top )
Domestic News- Policy
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The week was filled with ironies in drug news. One media outlet
wonders if other media outlets aren't being negative enough in their
portrayal of cannabis.
The next one is kind of tough to follow, but it seems to be
happening: One formal opponent to a citizen initiative that modifies
marijuana law in an Idaho town has announced he will actually defend
the initiative against a lawsuit from his fellow opponents. How
vigorous will that defense be?
A former high-level political candidate from North Carolina details
illegal drug use in the upper echelons of his state's society. And,
one U.S. congressional committee suggests drug violence will be
reduced by pulling more money and weapons from the drug war pork
barrel to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border.
The week was filled with ironies in drug news. One media outlet wonders if other media outlets aren't being negative enough in their portrayal of cannabis.
The next one is kind of tough to follow, but it seems to be happening: One formal opponent to a citizen initiative that modifies marijuana law in an Idaho town has announced he will actually defend the initiative against a lawsuit from his fellow opponents. How vigorous will that defense be?
A former high-level political candidate from North Carolina details illegal drug use in the upper echelons of his state's society. And, one U.S. congressional committee suggests drug violence will be reduced by pulling more money and weapons from the drug war pork barrel to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border.
(5) HAZY SCREENS: IS HOLLYWOOD PUSHING MARIJUANA? ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 16 May 2008
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2008 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Stephen Humphries, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
A Raft of Films Has Some Observers Citing a Generational Shift Among Filmmakers.
Call it cinema's stoned age. Films featuring characters using marijuana have mushroomed.
"Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay," the second movie to feature the titular pot-smoking characters, grossed nearly $15 million on its opening weekend, which might portend a big opening for August's "Pineapple Express," a Judd Apatow-produced comedy about a pot smoker and his supplier on the run. Also rolling out: "The Wackness," with Ben Kingsley as a bong-using psychiatrist; "Humboldt County," in which a medical student spends a summer in a marijuana-farming town; and "Super High Me," with comedian Doug Benson using the drug for 30 days.
Antidrug campaigners and proponents of marijuana decriminalization disagree about whether such films represent a change in societal attitudes. But the movies, most written by people under 40, seem to represent a shift in Hollywood.
"There seem to be movies that are produced by a younger generation than the baby boomers, [by people] who seem to have had a lot of experience with marijuana," says Jacob Sullum, senior editor at Reason magazine and author of "Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use."
Tom Hedrick, spokesperson for Partnership for a Drug Free America, says he worries that the uptick in such depictions makes the behavior appear too normal, creating bad role models.
But a spike in cannabis use on-screen doesn't appear to mirror any social trend. If government statistics which rely on self-reporting and other surveys are accurate, marijuana use has declined modestly in recent years, especially among teens.
(6) HAILEY CITY ATTORNEY TO DEFEND POT INITIATIVES ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 16 May 2008
Source: Idaho Mountain Express (ID)
Copyright: 2008 Express Publishing, Inc
Lawsuit Filed On The Eve Of Another Marijuana Election
An anti-marijuana lawsuit filed earlier this month puts Hailey City Attorney Ned Williamson in the ironic position of having to defend three controversial pot initiatives that he has staunchly opposed.
"I will do my best to defend those laws," Williamson told the Idaho Mountain Express in February, shortly after Hailey Mayor Rick Davis announced that the lawsuit would be filed.
Williamson was then asked if defending the marijuana initiatives would be difficult for him.
"I will do my best to defend those laws," he said again.
Williamson could not be reached this week for comment.
The lawsuit, filed by Hailey attorney Keith Roark on behalf of Davis, City Councilman Don Keirn and Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter, seeks to have the obviously illegal pro-pot initiatives officially ruled illegal in Blaine County 5th District Court. The three initiatives, one to legalize medical use of marijuana, a second to legalize use of industrial hemp and a third to make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for the Hailey Police Department, were approved by Hailey's electorate last November.
Davis, Keirn and Gunter are the lawsuit's plaintiffs. The city of Hailey is the defendant. Williamson is the city's attorney.
Some Express readers seem amused by the irony of Williamson's defending the initiatives.
"Hey Ned bro, we'll be stopping by yer office to have a bull session and brainstorm about our strategy as we just heard yer gonna be our attorney in this initiative matter fighting for our cause," a Hailey reader, identified as Roy Sandefur, wrote in an online comment to a Jan. 30 story on the Express Web site.
But Ryan Davidson, the man who keeps putting pro-pot issues on the Hailey ballot, does not find the situation funny. Davidson, chairman of The Liberty Lobby of Idaho, told the Express in February that the nature of the lawsuit is contrary to the basic premise of the American judicial system.
"So they're willing to sue themselves," Davidson said. "It just sounds bizarre. Both parties can't have the same interest in the outcome. That's collusion and it's banned in the American justice system. It should be thrown out out of hand.
"Ned Williamson has been the chief critic on behalf of the city," Davidson said. "So if he's put in a position of having to defend the initiatives, how can he come up with a valid defense? It's a conflict of interest."
Davidson's four-year battle with the city of Hailey is like a chess game. The city makes a move, Davidson counters.
(7) COCAINE USE WIDESPREAD, RAVENEL SAYS ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 17 May 2008
Source: Charlotte Observer (NC)
Copyright: 2008 The Charlotte Observer
Author: Clif Leblanc, The (Columbia) State
Investigation into Ex-S.C. Treasurer's Habit
Transcripts Show Drug Was Common, Casually Used in Social Circles
Cocaine circulated so readily in Charleston's upper-crust circles that former State Treasurer Thomas Ravenel confessed that, in his orbit, users shared the powder "like a football ... back and forth." The then-rising political star privately described his casual drug culture to a SLED investigator last spring when Ravenel was first confronted about his drug use.
Ravenel portrayed himself as being drawn from a healthy lifestyle into a cocaine world that stretched from the Upper King Street bar district to mansions south of Broad Street.
"I was sort of addicted to working out," Ravenel told Lt. Frank O'Neal during conversations on June 15 and 16.
"Then, recently ... I was just kinda, you know, I was just looking to, I don't know, I was around people that were doing it." Transcripts of the interviews obtained by The State under open-records laws show that Ravenel discounted the extent of his habit. He told O'Neal he did not use drugs in high school or at The Citadel.
By the time Ravenel was sentenced in March to 10 months in federal prison, he acknowledged he first experimented with drugs at 15, using marijuana. During the sentencing hearing, one of Ravenel's attorneys told federal Judge Joe Anderson his client's drug use was a "social problem." Anderson countered that Ravenel was "not forthcoming fully," noting Ravenel didn't immediately tell investigators how much and how often he used. Cocaine highs fueled Ravenel's successful commercial development career, and his drug use zoomed in 2005, according to information released in court. Records show he was using drugs during the period when he ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2004, as well as during his campaign to become the state's chief financial officer in 2006.
(8) SENATE PANEL BACKS HUTCHISON ON BORDER DRUG WAR ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 17 May 2008
Source: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX)
Copyright: 2008 Star-Telegram Operating, Ltd.
Author: Dave Montgomery, Star-Telegram Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- Embracing an initiative pushed by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, a Senate committee agreed Thursday to include $100 million in a federal spending package to help border-area law enforcement agencies combat drug trafficking and violence tied to powerful criminal gangs in Mexico.
The aid, approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, would be used in border-area counties and other high-intensity drug trafficking areas.
The package includes $10 million to fund Project Gunrunner, a Justice Department program designed to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico for use by drug cartels.
At least 90 percent of weapons seized in Mexico are from the United States, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Law Enforcement & Prisons
COMMENTS: ( Top )
The murder of Rachel Hoffman is raising questions outside of
Tallahassee about the practice of using untrained police informants
in drug investigations, while the local community continues to react
to the tragedy. In New York, another deadly tragedy and another
reminded that cannabis may not be lethal, but cannabis prohibition
is. And baby boomers who are settling into retirement and even those
a bit older, watch out: You now fit the profile of drug mule when
driving on interstates.
The murder of Rachel Hoffman is raising questions outside of Tallahassee about the practice of using untrained police informants in drug investigations, while the local community continues to react to the tragedy. In New York, another deadly tragedy and another reminded that cannabis may not be lethal, but cannabis prohibition is. And baby boomers who are settling into retirement and even those a bit older, watch out: You now fit the profile of drug mule when driving on interstates.
(9) TOLD TO INFORM, THEY LIVE AT RISK ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 17 May 2008
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2008 St. Petersburg Times
Author: Demorris A. Lee, Times Staff Writer
Rachel Hoffman's death this month in Tallahassee came during one of police work's most dangerous operations: a drug buy involving an untrained civilian informer.
Law enforcement officials say such work is necessary to get drugs and bad guys off the streets.
"The drug world is subversive, and there is no way to penetrate it without confidential informants," Tallahassee police Officer David McCranie said.
Statistics are hard to come by, but officials in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties say the use of informers is common, and sometimes they get hurt.
It can be further complicated because a potential informer might face a harsh dilemma: Cooperate, and get less jail time or none at all. Refuse, and face the consequences.
In Hoffman's case, it was the work of another informer that led to her own work for the police.
On April 15, an informer told Tallahassee police that Hoffman had sold marijuana in the past but hadn't done so recently, according to police records.
At the time, Hoffman, 23, was in a pretrial drug diversion program because of charges of possession of marijuana and resisting arrest in February 2007. To stay in the program, she had to stay out of trouble.
Two days after police got the informer's tip, a Tallahassee police officer stopped Hoffman as she was getting into her car.
The officer asked Hoffman if she had any drugs in her apartment. A quarter-pound of marijuana, she said, plus two ecstasy pills and four Valiums, according police records.
(10) HOFFMAN CASE IS LATEST IN NATIONAL DEBATE OVER CONFIDENTIAL ( Top )
Pubdate: Sat, 17 May 2008
Source: Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Tallahassee Democrat
Author: Jennifer Portman, Democrat Senior Writer
There was nothing uncommon about Tallahassee police sending Rachel Hoffman to Forestmeadows Park to buy illegal drugs and a gun from two suspected dealers.
Thousands of confidential informants help nab criminals every day. If the May 7 sting had gone as planned, the public never would have known what the 23-year-old was up to.
But the operation didn't go as planned. Hoffman, an FSU graduate facing several drug charges, agreed with the dealers to meet at nearby Royalty Plant Nursery instead. Police say they begged Hoffman not to go, but she hung up on them. Thirty-six hours later her body was found, dumped off a dirt road in Taylor County woods.
"It's the war on drugs gone crazy," said Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore cop and now assistant law professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City.
As the Florida Attorney General Office reviews how police handled the case, Hoffman's death has invited scrutiny of a clandestine, pervasive and largely unregulated aspect of law enforcement that is facing criticism nationwide. Federal agencies have implemented stricter standards about confidential informants and have improved documentation, experts say, but state and local agencies lag behind.
(11) RACHEL HOFFMAN'S FRIENDS, SUPPORTERS PROTEST POLICE DEPARTMENT ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 15 May 2008
Source: Tallahassee Democrat (FL)
Copyright: 2008 Tallahassee Democrat
Author: Nic Corbett, Democrat Staff Writer
Demonstrators Call For TPD to be Held Accountable
Friends of slain Tallahassee woman Rachel Morningstar Hoffman at a protest Wednesday clamored for accountability from the Tallahassee Police Department.
"There should be some kind of justice," said Muhammad Ashraf, 22, who knew Hoffman for about a year. "Ultimately, it was the police's duty to protect her."
Hoffman, 23, a 2007 Florida State University graduate, died last week during a botched police operation. She was last seen by police about 7 p.m. Wednesday near Forestmeadows Park, where she was to go undercover during a drug sting.
She left the area to meet the two men she was to buy the drugs and a gun from, despite a vice officer's efforts to stop her. Hoffman became an informant after police found drugs in her apartment in April. Police have not revealed the exact circumstances of her death. The two men were later arrested in her kidnapping and armed robbery. Murder charges are expected.
Between 80 and 100 people gathered at the Old Capitol to raise awareness about what happened to her last week. The group marched once in a circle, crossing the street at Monroe Street, Apalachee Parkway and Jefferson Street. They waved signs with messages like "TPD: No More Lies." They chanted slogans. Anytime someone driving by honked, the crowd cheered.
(12) SHERIFF SAYS KILLING DRUG RELATED ( Top )
Pubdate: Thu, 15 May 2008
Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)
Copyright: 2008 Watertown Daily Times
Author: James R. Donnelly, Staff Writer
'Targeted Residence': Investigators Find Large Amounts Of Pot, Cash, Rifle
WINTHROP - A town of Stockholm man who died after being shot during an altercation at his home was the targeted victim of a drug-related killing, St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin M. Wells said Wednesday following the discovery of a massive amount of marijuana and money at his home.
Daniel P. Simonds, 31, of 649 Porter Lynch Road, died at 7:10 a.m. Tuesday at a Vermont hospital of a single gunshot wound suffered during a struggle that took place about 12:40 a.m. Tuesday.
While suspects believed to be involved in the shooting remain unknown and at large, Mr. Wells said they are not believed to be a danger to other residents of the tiny hamlet of Brookdale where Mr. Simonds lived.
"We don't feel the suspects are a danger to the neighborhood. They have left. This was a targeted residence," Mr. Wells said.
Since the shooting, investigators combing the Simonds property have found 140 pounds of high-grade hydroponic marijuana with an estimated street value between $280,000 and $420,000, between $50,000 and $60,000 in cash and a Russian-made .308 caliber Saiga hunting rifle with telescopic sight.
(13) 'LITTLE OLD GRANNY' A TREND IN DRUG TRAFFICKERS' TRADE ( Top )
Pubdate: Fri, 16 May 2008
Source: Greensboro News & Record (NC)
Copyright: 2008 Greensboro News & Record, Inc.
SMITHFIELD ( MCT ) -- Ruth Davis banked on looking like just another granny in the slow lane.
But the 65-year-old Floridian was on business. A high-dollar delivery - -- 33 pounds of premium pot -- was locked up in the trunk of her rented Chevy Impala. She set her cruise on 74 as she headed north on Interstate 95 through Johnston County, bound for New York.
A North Carolina trooper got in her way that morning last December and, by chance, stumbled across a new type of drug mule.
"I'm not someone you'd think would be doing this," Davis said this week during an interview at the Johnston County jail. "I guess that's why it was such a brilliant plan."
She's the newest face of the drug mule: frosted hair and crow's feet. From 2006 to 2007, the number of people over 60 charged with trafficking drugs in North Carolina state courts nearly doubled. In 2007, at least 44 elderly people were arrested for trafficking everything from marijuana to powder cocaine.
The aged are just the latest of disguises drug lords use to move drugs up and down the East Coast. Drug agents have seen all sorts of trickery: drugs stashed in wrecked cars hitched to tow trucks or stowed in minivans filled with families bound for vacation.
Cannabis & Hemp-
COMMENTS: ( Top )
We can add Ohio to the list of states considering medicinal cannabis
law reform, however timid.
Canadians have moved on to the question of where medicinal cannabis
may be consumed.
Washingtonians are pondering how much medicinal cannabis patients
should be permitted to grow and possess.
Formerly resource-based communities in British Columbia are coming to
grips with their dependence on cannabis revenues to maintain their
We can add Ohio to the list of states considering medicinal cannabis law reform, however timid.
Canadians have moved on to the question of where medicinal cannabis may be consumed.
Washingtonians are pondering how much medicinal cannabis patients should be permitted to grow and possess.
Formerly resource-based communities in British Columbia are coming to grips with their dependence on cannabis revenues to maintain their economies.
(14) MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL PROPOSED IN OHIO ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 21 May 2008
Source: Mount Vernon News (OH)
Copyright: 2008 Progressive Communications
Author: Anton Hepler, News Staff Reporter
COLUMBUS - Ohio Sen. Tom Roberts, D-Dayton, unveiled details of the Ohio Medical Compassion Act on Tuesday, which if adopted, "would allow patients to use medicinal cannabis through a regulated system of quality health care."
If enacted, Ohio would join 12 other states that have currently de- criminalized the use of medicinal marijuana.
According to Roberts, the legislation would allow qualified patients and primary caregivers to use medicinal cannabis through a cardholder system.
Tonya Davis, a medicinal marijuana user who assisted in drafting the bill, said that under the proposed legislation, only a patient with a medical condition or illness that is sufficiently serious or debilitating, and who has the approval of his or her medical practitioner, will be able to use cannabis. Davis suffers from a host of debilitating medical conditions, including domestic violence- induced scoliosis, and is confined to a wheelchair.
"It's time that Ohio just look at the science and with it being well regulated, hopefully ... we'll be able to protect the patients more," Davis told the News.
Roberts' proposed legislation would call on the Ohio Departments of Health and Agriculture to establish an advisory board to regulate the use of medicinal marijuana. The program would be run under a cardholder system, and the board would be responsible for reviewing the use of cannabis in cases of debilitated medical conditions, reviewing applications for registry identification cards and providing recommendations for the safe growing and use of medical cannabis.
"After talking with Tonya [Davis] on and off for the last two years, I've had the opportunity to meet people who've had these debilitating conditions that this kind of medical treatment could help," Roberts told the News. "When crafting this bill, we took the best practices from across the country and put them into the Ohio Medical Compassion Act."
(15) HIGH COST OF TOKING ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 19 May 2008
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Antonella Artuso
Cloudy Issue When It Comes To Human Rights
A human rights settlement between a medical marijuana user and the owner of a Burlington sports pub has left behind a cloud of controversy.
Afroze Edwards of the Ontario Human Rights Commission said people who partake of marijuana for medical reasons have a right to reasonable accommodation of their disabilities.
Steve Gibson took a Burlington pub and restaurant owner to the human rights tribunal after he was banned from smoking medical marijuana in front of the establishment. The commission said that he should be treated like any other smoker.
"(The case) does at least give an indication of how the commission would look at any similar complaints that came forward in the future," Edwards said.
Most everyone agrees that medical marijuana should not be smoked where tobacco use is prohibited, but beyond that things get fuzzy.
Ontario Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best said the province's tobacco legislation was never intended to act as a guideline for medical marijuana use.
"The Smoke Free Ontario Act deals specifically with tobacco smoking," Best said. "With respect to medical marijuana ... the cases are very isolated ... I don't see people smoking medical marijuana anywhere around generally so I don't believe that's an issue that I would have to address."
(16) MEDICAL MARIJUANA: HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 21 May 2008
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Seattle Times Company
Author: Carol M. Ostrom, Seattle Times health reporter
A state Health Department proposal that medical-marijuana patients be allowed more than 2 pounds of pot every two months took law enforcement by surprise and prompted the governor to tell health officials to start over.
Faced with a legislative mandate to spell out what constitutes a "60- day supply" by July 1, the department in February briefed Gov. Christine Gregoire's office on its recommendation: Patients or caregivers could possess up to 35 ounces of cultivated marijuana and be allowed a plant-growing area of 100 square feet.
Gregoire promptly directed Department of Health Secretary Mary Selecky to solicit more comment from law enforcement and medical providers. "I wouldn't say she was upset" by the amount, said Gregoire's spokesman, Pearse Edwards, but she believed input had been one-sided.
The issue of how much marijuana a patient needs remains one of the most contentious parts of the law voters passed in 1998, which allows patients with certain chronic, fatal and debilitating diseases to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana with a doctor's authorization.
Last year, in an effort to help end conflict between law enforcement and patients or their pot-growing caregivers, the Legislature directed the state Health Department to define how much marijuana patients can possess under the law.
In four hearings around the state last fall, hundreds of patients and medical-marijuana advocates lined up to speak. But conspicuously absent from most hearings were the voices of two important "stakeholders": doctors and law-enforcement officials.
Doctors have a stake because under the law, they must authorize qualified patients to use marijuana.
And law-enforcement officers have a stake because they must decide whether to treat pot smokers and growers as patients or criminals.
(17) B.C. TOWN'S CASH CROP UP IN SMOKE, ALONG WITH ECONOMY ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 21 May 2008
Source: StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Copyright: 2008 The StarPhoenix
Author: Darah Hansen, Canwest News Service
It hasn't always been easy attracting new folks to the tiny northern community of Likely, B.C.
The little gold rush town of about 250 residents -- located about 100 kilometres east of Williams Lake -- has seen more than its fair share of economic hard times in recent years with the collapse of the forest industry and a temporary shut down in gold and copper mining.
"A few years ago, you couldn't sell a house in Likely for $80,000," said Rob Hood, a longtime Likely resident and president of the local chamber of commerce.
Then along came the pot growers and things started looking up in Likely.
Properties left vacant as work dried up were suddenly all bought up, and many locals found themselves employed putting in elaborate water systems and erecting huge, windowless, barn-like structures on the land.
Few questions were asked -- even when locked gates were installed across driveways, making it abundantly clear the town's new occupants weren't interested in anybody dropping in for coffee unannounced.
"Everybody was happy," said Hood.
Maybe not everybody.
According to police, it was from some very unhappy citizens of Likely that they first learned of the grow operations.
"It was definitely a mixed bag," Const. Craig Douglass of the RCMP North District said of public reaction. "Some liked this group being there . . . and some were concerned enough to phone police."
Hood said the town is working hard to diversify from its once resource-based economy to one focused more on tourism. Likely certainly has a lot going for it: It's on the original gold rush trail, has the only genuine Chinese ghost town in the country and is home to some of the best sports fishing and kayaking in the world, according to Hood.
"We're trying to develop all that stuff," he said, adding, only half- joking, "we have to now that the No. 1 crop is gone."
COMMENTS: ( Top )
As the days count down to June 30 - when the legal exemption for the
supervised injection center Insite in Vancouver, Canada expires -
supporters are becoming more emphatic. This week, retired police
from Vancouver and around the world plead with the rightist Harper
government for permission to continue to operate. Said one ex-cop:
"Put quite simply, if it's kept open, lives will be saved. If it's
shut, people will be condemned to certain death." While federal
Health Minister Tony Clement says the Harper government is keeping
an open mind, his office this week provided "rebuttals to arguments
in favour of Insite." Also last week, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA
Jenny Kwan joined calls for the Province of British Columbia to take
over funding for Insite.
Prohibitionists' escalation of violence in Mexico is backfiring.
President Calderon's use of increasing military power, has been
answered by yet more violence as cartels jockey for market share.
Which is not to say die-hard prohibitionists will admit it. This
week politicians in the U.S. haggled over how many hundreds of
millions of dollars would be taken from U.S. taxpayers, and given to
the Mexican government, ostensibly to fight drugs there. Opponents
of the larger drug prohibition package cite human rights abuses;
supporters accuse others of "abandoning" Mexico by giving only $350
million to Mexican drug warriors, instead of $500 million.
In the U.K., a national propaganda campaign ("National Tackling
Drugs Week") has created a flurry of sensational "big bust" articles
for tabloids there. Many papers, like the Evening Chronicle, have
dropped pretense of objectivity, and campaign "for drugs awareness
and crime prevention in our War on Drugs initiative." Following the
2005 heroin overdose of a promising football star, the Evening
Chronicle "launched" its own campaign to "catch dealers." Busts of
small cannabis growers have been given prominence in the U.K. news
media during "Tackling Drugs Week."
As the days count down to June 30 - when the legal exemption for the supervised injection center Insite in Vancouver, Canada expires - supporters are becoming more emphatic. This week, retired police from Vancouver and around the world plead with the rightist Harper government for permission to continue to operate. Said one ex-cop: "Put quite simply, if it's kept open, lives will be saved. If it's shut, people will be condemned to certain death." While federal Health Minister Tony Clement says the Harper government is keeping an open mind, his office this week provided "rebuttals to arguments in favour of Insite." Also last week, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan joined calls for the Province of British Columbia to take over funding for Insite.
Prohibitionists' escalation of violence in Mexico is backfiring. President Calderon's use of increasing military power, has been answered by yet more violence as cartels jockey for market share. Which is not to say die-hard prohibitionists will admit it. This week politicians in the U.S. haggled over how many hundreds of millions of dollars would be taken from U.S. taxpayers, and given to the Mexican government, ostensibly to fight drugs there. Opponents of the larger drug prohibition package cite human rights abuses; supporters accuse others of "abandoning" Mexico by giving only $350 million to Mexican drug warriors, instead of $500 million.
In the U.K., a national propaganda campaign ("National Tackling Drugs Week") has created a flurry of sensational "big bust" articles for tabloids there. Many papers, like the Evening Chronicle, have dropped pretense of objectivity, and campaign "for drugs awareness and crime prevention in our War on Drugs initiative." Following the 2005 heroin overdose of a promising football star, the Evening Chronicle "launched" its own campaign to "catch dealers." Busts of small cannabis growers have been given prominence in the U.K. news media during "Tackling Drugs Week."
(18) RETIRED OFFICERS HEAD TO OTTAWA TO FIGHT FOR INSITE ( Top )
Pubdate: Wed, 21 May 2008
Source: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Copyright: 2008, The Globe and Mail Company
Author: Gloria Galloway
OTTAWA -- The organizers of Vancouver's safe-injection site took retired policemen from Australia and Britain - as well as a retired Vancouver officer - to Ottawa yesterday to plead for an extension of the site's licence. With the June 30 expiry looming, Insite is trying to drum up support for its continued existence as a place in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside where addicts can inject their own illegal drugs in clean, supervised conditions.
The three retired policemen told reporters that closing the site would mean more deaths among the most vulnerable members of society - the poor and the uneducated - and would cost the criminal-justice system untold dollars if police were left to deal with overdoses.
"I have travelled halfway around the world to ask the Canadian government to allow the Vancouver safe-injection site, Insite, to keep operating," said retired officer Christopher Payne, formerly a detective sergeant with the Australian federal police in Sydney.
"Shutting down centres that do such good work would, I suggest, be just another heartless decision in what seems to be an endless war on drugs. It would be just another kick in the guts for people who need the most help, the addicts."
Tom Lloyd, a retired chief constable from Cambridge in England, said: "Put quite simply, if it's kept open, lives will be saved. If it's shut, people will be condemned to certain death."
But federal Health Minister Tony Clement, who has yet to make a decision on the site's future, fought back.
Before the news conference had ended, his office gave reporters contact information for Canadian police officers who oppose continuation of the site.
(19) SUPPORT FOR INSITE GROWING ( Top )
Pubdate: Sun, 18 May 2008
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 The Province
Author: Jennifer Saltman, The Province
MLA Wants Province to Take Over Responsibility
Dean Wilson credits Insite with keeping him clean for the past month.
"It's because of this facility that I'm actually here and doing this right now, otherwise I'd probably be on the other side of that door out there, using in the streets," Wilson told reporters Friday.
Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan hopes a private member's bill she will introduce next week will save the safe-injection site and make more stories like Wilson's possible.
"It's time for us, once and for all, to put science and research and the lives of people in the community ahead of partisan politics, ahead of ideology and get on with it," Kwan said.
The federal government has twice extended a drug-law exemption for Canada's only safe-injection program, but has expressed concerns about its future. The current exemption runs out at the end of June.
Kwan said her bill, which would designate Insite as a health facility under the sole jurisdiction of the provincial government, would remove the need for a federal exemption.
"Insite is, in fact, a health service for the most marginal community, people who need access to health care and treatment services," Kwan said.
(20) DEMOCRATS WRONG TO PROPOSE CUTTING MEXICAN DRUG-WAR AID PACKAGE ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 19 May 2008
Source: Daily Press (Newport News,VA)
Copyright: 2008 Miami Herald Media Co.
Author: Andres Oppenheimer
The murder of the acting chief of Mexico's federal police, amid an unprecedented wave of drug-gang attacks on security officials, will soon become a major issue in the U.S. presidential candidates' escalating war for Hispanic votes.
Until now, Republicans and Democrats had tried to make as little noise as possible about the Bush administration's Merida Initiative, a request for $500 million to help Mexico fight its drug cartels. They hoped to pass it quietly, fearing that a high-profile debate would stir up political passions on both sides of the border and kill the proposal.
But with drug-war violence in Mexico escalating to record levels in recent memory, that's changing fast.
Likely Republican candidate Sen. John McCain will probably try to cut into the Democrats' growing lead among Hispanics, saying their proposal to reduce the Merida Initiative up to $190 million amounts to "abandoning" Mexico when President Felipe Calderon's government is facing a bigger-than-ever attack from the drug cartels.
It might be much like when McCain blamed Democrats for "abandoning" Colombia by resisting ratification of the U.S.-Colombian free-trade agreement.
Most Democrats in Congress say they want to vote for aid to Mexico. But they object to what they say is an excessive focus on military aid at the expense of institution-building assistance, and they note that some anti-immigration Republican legislators are opposing the Merida initiative.
On Friday, the AFL-CIO and the United Steelworkers -- backing the Democrats in the November elections -- called for blocking the aid plan, citing concerns over human rights abuses.
(21) POLICE STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST DRUG DEALERS ( Top )
Pubdate: Mon, 19 May 2008
Source: Evening Chronicle (UK)
Copyright: 2008 Trinity Mirror Plc
Author: Brenda Hickman
A war on drugs blighting communities is being waged this week on every level.
A police purge on drug dealers and the work of agencies helping addicts will be highlighted in the Tackling Drugs campaign.
Northumbria Police is backing the Home Office in a national drugs awareness drive.
Enforcers are not only taking on the drug barons and breaking up distribution networks, but also helping users live a drug-free life.
Northumbria Police's Det Insp Mandy Shea, of the force intelligence department's drug section, said: "We are committed to disrupting the supply of drugs, closing crack houses and cannabis farms, and reducing drug-related crime.
"We should not lose sight of the fact drug dealers profit from the misery of others.
In the past two years, officers have seized 57kg of heroin, 21kg of cocaine, 30,000 ecstasy tablets, 48kg of amphetamines, 1,220kg of cannabis resin and 500kg of cannabis plants in a series of major operations.
Tackling the drugs menace had led to major successes with information from local families helping police to identify drug dealers and disrupt markets.
The Chronicle has campaigned for drugs awareness and crime prevention in our War on Drugs initiative.
It was launched three years ago after the tragic death of young addict John Courtney.
On April 2, 2005, former Newcastle United trainee footballer John Courtney was found dead in his uncle's flat, lying on a grubby carpet next to a syringe after his final fix.
With the backing of his family, we printed the harrowing image of his corpse in a bid to urge others not to journey down the same road.
Since then, the Chronicle has worked to raise awareness of drugs abuse, improve access to services and catch dealers.
HOT OFF THE 'NET ( Top )
VIETNAM MAY DECRIMINALIZE DRUG USE ( Top )
Hanoi - Vietnam's National Assembly is considering decriminalizing drug use, downgrading the personal use of illegal narcotics from a criminal offense to an administrative violation, a Vietnamese legislator said Friday.
SPECIAL EDITION OF THE MAPS BULLETIN ( Top )
The Spring 2008 Special Edition of the MAPS Bulletin on Technology and Psychedelics is now available for download and online browsing at:
MONEY LAUNDERING AND MURDER IN COLOMBIA ( Top )
Official Documents Point to DEA Complicity
By Bill Conroy
LEGAL EASE WITH KIRK TOUSAW ( Top )
Join Kirk as he discusses five marijuana cases he is involved with.
DRUG TRUTH NETWORK ( Top )
Cultural Baggage Radio Show - 05/21/08 - Mitch Earleywine
Dr. Mitch Earleywine discusses his new book Parents Guide to Marijuana.
Century of Lies - 05/20/08 - Dean Becker
4:20 Drug War News reports selected from Feb 2007 to Jan 2008.
THE CASE OF THE MISSING EVIDENCE ( Top )
By Dan Gardner
If the federal government is really waiting for all the science to be in before making drug policy, it will be waiting a long time.
POLICE DEFEND SUPERVISED CONSUMPTION FACILITY ( Top )
Four law-enforcers travel from Vancouver, Canada, Cambridge, England, Greenville, North Carolina, USA, and Brisbane, Australia, to Ottawa in support of keeping Insite open in Vancouver.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS WEEK ( Top )
SUPPORT THE RACHEL MORNINGSTAR FOUNDATION ( Top )
In her memory, Rachel's mother has established the Rachel Morningstar Foundation, the goal of which is to pass a law requiring legal advice to be sought before a civilian can consent to undercover work. Beyond that, it will also work to decriminalize marijuana in Florida. Please make a generous donation to the Rachel Morningstar Foundation today.
LETTER OF THE WEEK ( Top )
END THE DRUG WAR ( Top )
By Glenn White
Editor - Your editorial regarding the violence in Mexico's drug war ( "The high cost of courage," May 12) exemplifies how difficult it is for your paper to demonstrate courage on this issue.
You say that drug demand on our side of the border is the root cause of the violence when, in fact, it is our insistence on continuing a losing drug war that is the real source of Mexico's violence.
The black market created by drug warriors, including American law enforcement and their political supporters, keeps gangs and terrorists at home and abroad well financed.
If law enforcement was serious about ending the violence, it would stop the drug war and its incentives to commit violence for profit. Since your own editorial acknowledges that demand for drugs is high despite the drug war, then what purpose does the drug war serve other than to enrich terrorists, gangsters, cops and prison guards at taxpayer expense?
If you want to show real courage, then end the drug war and stop the violence now. The violence is due to law enforcement's addiction to taxes more than personal drug addiction. Unfortunately, that takes too much courage for most to admit.
Limit government, not liberty.
Glenn White Dublin
Pubdate: Thu, 15 May 2008
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
FEATURE ARTICLE ( Top )
Join This Respected Group Of Drug Policy Organizations ( Top )
By Mark Greer
One of the great pleasures of being the Executive Director of DrugSense is the opportunity to work with so many of the remarkable organizations engaged in ending the failed prohibition on substance use. As the main online web host and service provider to drug policy reform, we've seen dozens of organizations borne out of the pain, frustration, and futility of the War on Drugs, and have helped many of them work more effectively by incorporating the online services offered through DrugSense's Drug Policy Central http://www.drugpolicycentral.com/ into their websites and daily work.
I have watched LEAP grow from an interesting band of former police officers to one of the most high-impact and effective drug policy reform organizations in America. The Harm Reduction Coalition evolved from an initial focus on injection drug use to a voice for substance users around the world. We have helped drug policy reform leaders like Common Sense for Drug Policy and the Drug Truth Network expand their reach across the web and into other media with a message of progressive, evidence- based approaches to substance use, and we continue to assist the good work of reform advocates like the National Advocates for Pregnant Women in their fight for the personal rights and freedoms of the most vulnerable members of society.
Like all DrugSense services, Drug Policy Central's web hosting services are FREE, but they're not free to produce. To donate to DrugSense quickly and easily, please go to http://drugsense.org/donate/ Contribute today!
Here's more information on these organizations and the services provided to them by DrugSense's Drug Policy Central:
- Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, http://www.leap.cc/ Composed of former and current members of law enforcement and the judiciary, LEAP continues to supply speakers calling for an end to prohibition throughout North America. Check out http://leap.cc/Speakers to find a speaker in your area. DrugSense provides to LEAP with the following services: a) website hosting; b) domain name acquisition and renewals; c) website and graphic design; d) mailing lists; e) membership database; and f) training and tech support.
* Read a quote about DPC services from LEAP founder Jack Cole below.
- Common Sense for Drug Policy, http://www.csdp.org/ Among its many informative and useful drug policy related services, CSDP is the home of the popular Drug War Facts ( http://www.drugwarfacts.org/ ), a compendium of statistics and information on the harms of prohibition. DrugSense is proud to host and maintain mailing lists for CSDP.
- Drug Truth Network, http://www.drugtruth.net/ The Drug Truth Network is a media production organization based at KPFT Radio Houston, dedicated to exposing the fraud, misdirection, and wastefulness of the War on Drugs. Its main project is Dean Becker's popular Cultural Baggage, Century of Lies, and 4:20 Drug War News radio newscasts. DrugSense helped design and now hosts this important web resource.
- Harm Reduction Coalition, http://www.harmreduction.org/ Founded in 1993, the Harm Reduction Coalition is a national advocacy and capacity-building organization that promotes the health and dignity of individuals and communities impacted by drug use. DrugSense is proud to host this national organization's website.
- National Advocates for Pregnant Women http://www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/ National Advocates for Pregnant Women works to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all women, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women, and those who are most vulnerable - low income women, women of color, and drug-using women. DrugSense is proud to provide web-hosting services to NAPW.
If you'd like to join the long list of national and international drug policy reform organization hosted by DrugSense's Drug Policy Central, please contact us today at www.drugpolicycentral.com to find out how.
DrugSense depends on individual donors like you to ensure that all of these amazing online drug policy resources stay operational and up-to- date, so please DONATE TODAY by visiting http://drugsense.org/donate/ It's fast and easy, AND online donations are secure http://drugsense.org/security.htm, private, and tax-deductible!
Thank you again for working to end the international war on drugs, and for supporting DrugSense/MAP.
Mark Greer, Executive Director
DrugSense 14252 Culver Dr #328 Irvine, CA 92604-0326
* "LEAP has a new dynamic web site with some social-networking functioning. Many thanks to Matt Elrod and Deb Harper for the countless hours of programming and tweaking the web pages and to Drug Sense our host and the Media Awareness Project who power the site with their automatic feeds ... The new site became active on July 1, 2007. The per-day visits have nearly doubled the number of visits made during the month of June 2007 and more than quadrupled what they were a year ago in August 2006. By just holding this momentum LEAP will have 1.5 million visitors during 2007. We expect to surpass that number by several magnitudes."
- Jack Cole, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
P.S. Of course it goes without saying that, once we begin to acknowledge the impressive efforts of specific groups, it is inevitable that we will fail to recognize many of the other organizations that we have been supporting, working with, and depending upon DrugSense efforts for well over a decade. For a list of all 120+ Drug Policy Central clients, please visit: http://www.drugpolicycentral.com/hosting/clients.htm
Mark Greer is the Executive Director of DrugSense.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK ( Top )
"Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society; and any eminent departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all." - Edmund Burke
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NOTICE: ( Top )
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MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TO DRUGSENSE ON-LINE ( Top )
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